Pro-lifers walk up Constitution Avenue headed toward the U.S. Supreme Court while participating in the 46th March for Life Jan. 18 in Washington. (CNS photo)

Diocese sends one of its largest groups to witness for life at annual March for Life
Bonnie Toombs, director of the diocesan Respect Life and Social Justice Office, said the experience of leading 730 pilgrims from the diocese to participate in one of the largest March for Life events held was amazing – especially with the appearance and speech of Vice-President Michael Pence and his wife, and a closing prayer by Alveda C. King, niece of Martin Luther King, Jr.
“What really touched me was the talk by state Rep. Katrina Jackson from Louisiana,” Toombs said. “We fight for life, whether we are black, white, male or female, Republican or Democrat,” she said, quoting Jackson. “We must put being Christian first. For those who remain silent, allow this killing of God’s children to continue.”
The event is also a time for pilgrims from across the Diocese of Wichita to gather in prayer to be a voice for the voiceless, Toombs said, and “to let our young people see the hundreds of thousands of other young people who believe we must speak out to protect all life from conception to natural death.”
Jason Creed, a member of St. Joseph Parish in McPherson, said the young pilgrims were lucky they were accompanied by 21 young priests of the diocese.
“The youth feed off of the enthusiasm of the priests, whether it being during adoration or during the rally,” he said. “The pilgrimage is an extremely well planned event with Bonnie Tombs and her staff doing everything possible to make it an extremely memorable experience for the youth.”
Creed said the pilgrims were able to take in many Catholic and national sites during their time in the area.
“As an adult, witnessing over 700 youth expressing their faith through adoration, through the Mass and through worship songs is very moving and very promising for the future. You can video it and capture the moment, but you have to be there.”
He added that anyone who has the opportunity to serve as a chaperone should take advantage of the opportunity.
Sandy Nettleton, a member of All Saints Parish in Wichita, said the March is an inspiration.
“To see so many people, especially youth, united for the cause of saving innocent lives is an experience I will never forget. People from all walks of life, religions, some physically impaired – it was just so amazing. From where we were, all you could see was a sea of people with lots of signs expressing their thoughts regarding abortion.”
She said she was impressed with how organized the event was and how it was an amazing experience for the youth. “It was an exhausting but inspiring experience.”

Wichita diocese pro-lifers pose Jan. 18 in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.